The world was first introduced to Sarah Blasko’s ethereal voice in 2004’s The Overture & the Underscore. She has since released two more long players, received 14 ARIA nominations, and sold in excess of 70,000 albums.
Travelling back to Sweden to write the majority of this, her fourth studio album, Blasko admits that she prefers to shut out the outside world during the recording process.
“I’ve always wanted to be isolated, and just in that recording world, away from any day-to-day stuff that might be happening,” she explains. “And my partner is from Sweden, so we wanted to go back and live there for a while.”
The first thing that strikes you about I Awake, is the dramatically heavier orchestral elements, a soundscape created with the help of the Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra. But there is contrast too, with the singer opting to write a couple of songs on the ukulele.
The result is a lush, sprawling record, with moments of fragility, where Blakso’s vocals are pared back to intimate new heights.
“I wanted to push away from all the unnecessary stuff, and get back to the core,” she reveals. “I don’t think the lyrics are any more revealing, it’s more the way I sing that is.”
No stranger to the wider performing arts, having toured with the Bell Shakespeare Company’s production of Hamlet in 2008, Blasko will once again flex her creative artistry via a new piece for the Sydney Dane Company.
“We’re working on a piece called Emergence,” she says. “I’m writing music with Nick Wales, a friend of mine. We’ve known each other for about 10 years, and he did some orchestral arrangement on my new album.
“Music is always about building on and deepening existing relationships for me, and I’m always conscious of this in my work.”
I Awake is out now.